It’s September! FIBA World Cup play has started. The days are finally going to start cooling off. Fall is around the corner. Training camp starts next month. We’re finally through the desolate NBA desert that is August. And that means it’s also time for 30Q, our annual series where we ask 30 questions about the upcoming Kings season.
The Sacramento Kings signed Trevor Ariza to a two-year, $25 million contract this summer. This season is a fully guaranteed $12.2 million, but next season’s $12.8 million is minimally guaranteed. Essentially this is a one year contract. What should the Kings expect for this season? I’m glad I asked. Let’s jump in.
First let’s discuss what the Kings aren’t getting, and that’s the lockdown defender that Ariza was in his 20s. Ariza is still not a bad defender, but he’s lost a step. At 34 years old that’s understandable. Ariza can still bring good team defense, but Kings fans should temper any expectations they may have of Ariza locking down the league’s best players.
Also in question is Ariza’s shooting. Ariza is known as a 3 and D player, but his deep shooting disappeared in DC last season. On 6.9 attempts per game for the Wizards, Ariza shot just 32% from three. Before being acquired by the Wizards, Ariza 36% from 3 on 5.3 attempts per game for the Phoenix Suns. Hopefully Ariza’s efficiency will return as he’s asked to play a smaller role with the Kings.
That’s really the key with Ariza. Based on what I’ve said about his defense and shooting, you might think I’m down on the Ariza signing. But the Kings aren’t going to expect Ariza to play 34 minutes a night like he did last season. Ariza will be coming off the bench, primarily backing up Harrison Barnes. Ariza’s skills and size also allow him to play as a stretch four if needed. Ariza isn’t as good as he once was, but he’s a versatile and skilled backup wing, easily the best backup wing the Kings have had in years. He’ll be a key player in the Kings bench rotation. As long as the starting unit plays as expected, that’s all the Kings will need Ariza to be.